debt

8 big lottery winners whose money and luck ran out

From wigs to riches
From wigs to riches | Chris Clor/Getty Images

From wigs to riches

In 1993, Janite Lee, a South Korean immigrant, was running a wig shop in St. Louis when she won $18 million in the Illinois Lottery.

What would you do with that kind of money? Put some into stocks, some into savings?

Lee went on a donation spree, giving money to political candidates and the Democratic National Committee, and snapping up a seat next to President Bill Clinton at a 1997 fundraising luncheon, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

She also donated generously to Washington University, and its School of Law named a reading room after her.

But the annual, after-tax payments of $620,000 couldn't match her spending.

When she filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection in 2001, the extent of Lee's debts became clear. She had only about $700 but owed $2.5 million. And, she had lost nearly $350,000 gambling at casinos during one year.

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